New Delhi: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap has decided not to fly with IndiGo airlines to stand in solidarity with comedian Kunal Kamra, who was banned by the carrier when he confronted Arnab Goswami on one of its flights.
The filmmaker, who travelled to Kolkata on Monday for the inauguration of the Dumdum International Film Festival, told The Telegraph he will “wake up at 4 am but I will not fly IndiGo” until “Kunal Kamra is allowed to fly”.
“I was booked on IndiGo by the organisers to come to Dum Dum…. After Kamra was banned, I told the organisers I will not fly IndiGo. I told them I will not fly this airline because I thought the ban was very unreasonable…. My thing is: there is nothing I can do about it. It does not make much of a difference. But as I wanted to register my dissent, I thought that I would not fly IndiGo,” he told the newspaper.
Last week, IndiGo suspended Kamra from flying with the private airline for six months, after he heckled journalist Arnab Goswami aboard one of its planes from Mumbai to Lucknow. The video of the incident, posted by Kamra on Twitter, went viral on social media. The stand-up comedian is seen asking Goswami if he is a “coward or a journalist”.
After minister Hardeep Puri pressed other airlines to ban the comedian, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India imposed an indefinite ban. Vistara and another airline, AirAsia, have not initiated any such action and have said they are reviewing the matter. Both Kamra and Kashyap have endorsed Vistara, praising it for not succumbing to pressure from the government.
The comedian on February 1 sent a legal notice to the airline demanding an unconditional apology, revocation of the ban and Rs 25 lakh compensation for causing him ‘mental anguish’.
Kamra received both praise and criticism from people belonging to different walks of life, including IndiGo pilot-in-command Rohit Mateti who conveyed his anguish to the airline management for not consulting him before announcing the ban on the comedian.
Speaking on the comedian’s suspension, Kashyap said, “Imagine, the government is being the bully and everybody is so afraid of the government (they are) trying to appease him. Without any official order, without any investigation they declare a ban on this man. They have not bothered to speak to the pilots. This is arrogance, this is bullying by this government. I will not fly the four airlines till Kunal Kamra is allowed to fly.”
The filmmaker also said that artists should have “guts” to talk about rights. “An artiste should have the guts and courage to talk about his rights. He is the mirror of society, the conscience of society,” Kashyap said, according to news agency PTI.
Kashyap, who has directed popular films such as DevD and Gangs of Wasseypur, has been vocal about social issues, criticising the Central government’s policies, including the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). Last month, Kashyap was present at a protest rally in Mumbai against the violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus.
Kashyap had also backed actor Deepika Padukone after her visit to the JNU campus to show solidarity with the students.
“An artiste should speak the truth instead of making politically correct statements,” he said.